This book concerns a family where the children consist of a couple of boys, and a few more than that of girls. They live in a Square in London, which bears the name of an existing London Square, but which is placed, according to the story, in quite a different place to the real one. The children are fascinated by the occupants of the various other houses, some of whom they gradually get to know.
The children grow up, the boys are away doing interesting things, and the girls become interested in their own clothes and appearances. This may be just a male’s view of the story, but it seems like it to me, for there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much life as you find in the same author’s Pixie books. Well, I suppose that’s not true: there is a subtle undercurrent of old love affairs revived that runs right to the very last page—and that is one of Mrs Vaizey’s greatest skills. If you haven’t done so, do read the little biography we have written of her, as it will help you to understand her writing rather better than if you don’t.
Still, you read the book, and see what you think. You may well be pleasantly surprised.
Jessie Bell (Mrs. Henry Mansergh, Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey)
Jessie Bell, later Mrs. Henry Mansergh, and then Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey, was born in Liverpool, in 1857, into a family of seven children--she had four brothers and two sisters. In 1883, she married Henry Mansergh. Their only daughter, Gwyneth Alice, was born in 1886. The Manserghs moved several times, but always remained in the vicinity of Liverpool. Henry Mansergh seems to have been either an alcoholic or addicted to drugs. In either case, he died of kidney disease in May, 1894.
At about the time of her first husband's death, her short stories began to appear in magazines in 1894. Her daughter, Gwyneth, then about twelve, found an unpublished manuscript of her mother's in a drawer and sent it in to a short story competition. Jessie won the contest, whose prize was a Mediterranean cruise. Jessie met George de Horne Vaizey on that cruise. She married him in 1898 and they moved to Broxbourne in Hertfordshire. Their son, George de Horne Vaizey the younger, who was later to become a writer himself, was born in 1900.
Early in the century, she contracted typhoid, and then developed rheumatoid arthritis. The latter condition left her permanently crippled, in a wheelchair, for the rest of her life. In spite of her affliction, she continued to write. She died in Hampstead after an operation for appendicitis.
Jessie wrote thirty-three books, and many short stories and magazine articles. She often used her own varied experiences in her books. She used situations from her early life in a large family, her first husband’s addiction and death, and her own illnesses in her novels.
A PDF of scans and an HTML version of this book are provided. We also provide a plain TEXT version and full instructions for using this to make your own audiobook. To find these click on the PDF, HTML or TXT links on the left.
These transcriptions of books by various nineteenth century authors of instructive books for teenagers, were made during the period 1997 to the present day by Athelstane e-Books. Most of the books are concerned with the sea, but in any case all will give a good idea of life in the nineteenth century. This of course includes attitudes prevalent at the time, but frowned upon nowadays.
We used a Hewlett-Packard scanner, a Plustek OpticBook 3600 scanner or a Nikkon Coolpix 5700 camera to scan the pages. We then made a pdf which we used to assist with editing the OCRed text.
To make a text version we used TextBridge Pro 98 or ABBYY Finereader 7 or 8 to produce a first draft of the text, and Athelstane software to find misreads and improve the text. We proof-read the chapters, and then made a CD with the book read aloud by either Fonix ISpeak or TextAloud MP3. The last step enables us to hear and correct most of the errors that may have been missed by the other steps, as well as entertaining us during the work of transcription.
The resulting text can be read at www.athelstane.co.uk
The PDF version is constructed from 300 dpi scans. To get best value set "Use Logical Page Numbers" to "ON" in Edit/Preferences/Page Display of your PDF viewer. To obtain the HTML file find the area on the left of this page which has PDF, HTML and TXT in it, and click on HTML. In this version the entire book appears in the one file, which also includes the style-sheet and any pictures, and is written in xhtml. The larger of the two TXT files is what you need to create an audiobook, using for instance Text Aloud MP3. The smaller of the two TXT files contains full instructions for doing so.
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